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January 2021
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How We Execute A Multi-Site “Pilot” As-Built Survey

The “Pilot” As-Built Survey – The Critical Step in a Multi-Site As-Built Survey Program

Let’s talk about “Multi-Site” As-Built Survey programs. These are multi-location remodel programs where dozens or hundreds of locations need to be surveyed and drafted in preparation for remodel, rebranding, or expansion initiatives – usually for large, national retail or quick service restaurant (QSR) brands. With many Multi-Site programs completed for national brands over the years, PPM has learned a lot about the process from both the client end and the surveying end. You won’t find much information on the internet about this type of work, so we thought we’d shed some light on the subject and the first important step in the process to ensure success.

Before we dive in, there are a few more things you may want to know. To learn more about what a Multi-Site program is: including clients, typical projects, scope of work, challenges, etc., you can get more information here. To understand the steps we take to plan a program of this magnitude, including assessing objectives, gathering necessary information, creating a team, and more, check out our blog here.

In this article, let’s focus on a specific component of the Multi-Site program that is critical to the overall success of large-scale programs – the “pilot” survey.

What is an As-Built “Pilot” Survey?

A pilot survey is when you complete an As-Built plan for the first location(s) on the client’s list.  The pilot survey takes place after you have finished the initial planning for a new program, but before you are ready to go live with a full launch. The purpose of a pilot survey is twofold:

  1. It allows the survey company to see for themselves what the real conditions and challenges will be – both in the field and post-survey – for the program. This will help with the 2nd round of planning.
  2. To create, revise and confirm a Scope of Work with the client. This will be the actual “deliverable” template that is followed for the remainder of the program.

Sometimes we complete a single pilot survey, and other times we might perform as many as 5 in order to complete these 2 goals.  The entire process usually takes about 2-3 weeks,

How does an As-Built “Pilot” Survey work?

  1. Preparation. To get ready for the pilot survey(s) we do a full review of the Scope of Work and any additional client communication to determine exactly what plans we should draw, items to include, and other information to gather. We also consider any travel arrangements, scheduling requirements, or special equipment needed.
  2. Surveying.  There are a few additional things to consider when surveying for a pilot program:
    • Capture more information than you think you need.  This is good practice in general, but with a pilot particularly you really want to show the client more so that they can determine what is truly needed.
    • Consider any site conditions which may impact your ability to efficiently perform the surveys on a large scale, such as employees, customers, hours of operation, etc.
    • Compile a list of questions for the client as you survey.  The pilot survey is the chance to get these questions answered so that everything can be settled before the full program launch.
  3. Delivery to Client. Complete and deliver the survey(s) to the client, along with notes and questions.  Over the next few days there should be a lot of back and forth with the client about any questions, revisions to make, information to include/omit.  We like to schedule a full “Scope Review” call with the client to hash out any remaining questions or requests.
  4. Final Scope Confirmation. This is where both parties agree that the As-Built Survey Deliverable created in the pilot(s) is ready.  All future surveys for the remainder of the program will be based on that Deliverable.
  5. Update Program Documents. This is an internal step for the surveying company, to get all necessary training and workflow documents ready for the program rollout, including:
    • Survey Scope of Work and Itemized Checklist
    • Survey Operations manual
    • AutoCAD template / CAD standards
    • Other Training documents and/or videos
  6. Update Program Fulfillment Plan.  This was discussed in a prior blog post, and includes things like a program timeline, scheduling procedures, etc..

Once the pilot is complete you and your team along with your As-Built Survey partner are ready to get started on the full program rollout, surveying as many as 50 or more locations each week for the remainder of the program. At PPM, we handle the scheduling, so your team can focus on what you do best. To learn more about the entire As-Built Survey process for Multi-Site programs, visit us here.

About PPM

At PPM, our goal is to help set you and your Multi-Site remodel, rebrand, or expansion program up for success from the start. While we are dedicated to our tried-and-true process and deliver consistently accurate plans, success is not just in the numbers – it’s a feeling of trust, confidence, ownership and teamwork. Our team is committed to Core Values that drive our business and our clients’ success. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

Have an upcoming Multi-Site program or remodel project we can assist with?

Interested in learning more about our Multi-Site As-Built Survey process?

1080 565 Andy McFarland

3D Laser As-Built Surveying in the Information Age

4 Ways 3D Laser Scanning Is Changing Your As-Built Customer Experience

At PPM, we work closely with architects throughout the country and know the demands of the job. We get it. You’re busy, you’re under a deadline, you need the most accurate As-Built survey possible, and you want it to be completely “Worry Free.” Believe us. We’ve been in the business for over 18 years now, and we understand what you need in an As-Built survey whether you’re starting a home remodel, moving your business to a new location, or renovating the guest rooms at a large hotel.

It’s this understanding of our customers’ needs that has been one of the primary catalysts for the adoption of 3D laser scanning into our As-Built surveying process. For the first 14 years in business, we did everything manually with tape measures, laser distance meters, sketching boards, and good old-fashioned problem solving. But within the last couple of years, as this technology has developed, we decided that laser scanning is the best way to enhance your As-Built surveying customer experience. How are these handy 3D laser scanning gadgets helping us help you? Let’s dive into it.

1. Decreased Time On Site, So You Can Get Back To Your Day

3D laser scanners have dramatically reduced the amount of time that our surveyors need at the job site to capture all the necessary As-Built information. Take the example of a typical 2,500 square foot single family home – the type of project we survey just about every day at PPM. It used to take one of our surveyors around 5-7 hours to gather all the measurements and information we needed for this type of project. That’s an entire day of us at you or your client’s residence, measuring every inch of the building. If you’ve ever had workers inside your house for an entire day, you know that this can be somewhat obtrusive and often requires you to plan your entire day around the worker’s schedule.
Now, with 3D laser scanning, we’ve cut our time in the field dramatically. A project that used to take us about 7 hours in the field only a couple of years ago, today takes maybe 1 to 2 hours (for a typical residence or small commercial building) using a laser scanner. This means that we can get in, get what we need, and get out before you or your client even figures out what they are having for lunch. You can get on with your busy schedule, or just relax in your house without a stranger hanging out all day. Although, I do think we make pretty decent house guests.

 

3d-scanning-technician-at-work

On location with one of our 3D scanning specialists. Our laser scanners work well in both small and large spaces.

2. Millions of Data Points = We Can Accommodate Any Request

Another big advantage of using a 3D laser scanner for As-Built surveying is the amount of information that is gathered. Before laser scanners, we had to pick and choose the measurements we would take and the information we could capture based on the scope of work requested by our client. If our client wanted an As-Built floor plan and reflected ceiling plan (RCP), we would only gather enough data to complete these 2 plan types. Now with the laser scanner we can digitally capture everything visible in your house or building with incredible precision. This means we know where every wall, window, door, ceiling beam, light fixture, cabinet, and piece of furniture is located in the building.

This information gathered from your property by the 3D laser scanner contains millions of data points that we use to create your finished As-Built deliverables. The big advantage for our customers in capturing all this data is the flexibility that it provides if more information is needed. For example, what if our customer decided after the field visit that in addition to the floor plan and RCP, they need some interior elevations and a section drawing? Previously we would have had to return to the building to take additional measurements – requiring additional time to schedule a second field visit, and an additional inconvenience to the property owner. With laser scanners, we already have all of the data we need to create these additional As-Built plans, so we are able to accommodate these change order requests quickly and keep the project moving. It’s what we do best!

 

Roof Top View By 3D Scanner

Our 3D Laser Scanning team can produce As-Built surveys of a variety of different building types.

3. Complicated Structures are Now a Breeze

It’s hard to overstate how much more precise our AutoCAD and Revit deliverables are now that we use 3D laser scanners. We have always been extremely accurate, recording individual measurements to the fraction of an inch and employing multiple redundancies and other As-Built best practices to ensure a quality product. But, to be honest with you, there’s just no equating what can be done with tape measures and simple electronic measuring tools compared to what we can do with 3D laser scanners.

No matter how many measurements we took back in the good old days, we simply couldn’t have collected as much information about your building as a laser scanner can. For a simple building with basic geometry, it might not make too much of a difference. But for larger structures and more complex architecture such as curved walls, vaulted or arched ceilings, and non-standard angles, laser scanners provide a whole new level of precision and detail. This increase in total accuracy becomes even more critical when we are creating a comprehensive 3D BIM model from the data captured in the field. This benefit to our customer is yet another reason why we’ve decided to adopt this technology with so much passion.

Happy-customer-shaking-hands-with-PPM-surveyor

At PPM, we take great pride in making sure that our customers are comfortable and satisfied with all phases of our service. With the faster location time afforded by 3D Laser scans, our customers are even happier.

4. You Tell Us What You Want And We’ll Deliver

If I haven’t made it abundantly clear already, 3D laser scanning allows us more flexibility to tailor our deliverable to your needs. Because we have so much data gathered for your As-Built survey and because this information is accurate, complete, digital, and portable – we have a wide variety of options for our clients when it comes to the As-Built information we provide.
The 3D “point clouds” generated by a laser scanner can be worked with either in 2D or 3D. Our 2D AutoCAD drawings and 3D Revit models can be created exactly to your specifications and are always designed with your project’s best interest in mind. This means that our customer service and project management outreach is more important than ever. We have a dedicated staff whose primary purpose is to find out exactly what you require, and then create a deliverable that will make your job infinitely easier. Another new option is to deliver the raw data (the point cloud) directly. For those that know how to work with it, the point cloud is an extremely detailed “digital twin” of the building and can be delivered as soon as the day after the field work.

3D Laser Scanners – Good for Us and Great for You!

So, as you can see, 3D laser scanning has really improved the As-Built customer experience in many different ways here at PPM. We are beyond excited to see how this technology will continue to revolutionize our business and provide you with the best As-Built service possible.

Now that you know how 3D laser scanning can improve your customer experience for your remodel projects, I hope you’re as excited about these new developments as we are. Reach out to our team with any questions you may have. We’re here to support your next remodel project!

About PPM

At PPM, our goal is to help set you and your project up for success from the start. While we are dedicated to tried-and-true process and deliver consistently accurate plans, success is not just in the numbers – it’s a feeling of trust, confidence, ownership and teamwork. Our team is committed to Core Values that drive our business and our clients’ success. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

Do you have an upcoming remodel, addition, or historic preservation project we can assist with?

Interested in learning more about our As-Built Survey process?